Women still put off farming by perception it is 'unsuitable'

Women are being put off farming because of a perception that the work is unsuitable for them, according to a new Scottish Government report.

Ewan Pate
clock • 2 min read
Women still put off farming by perception it is 'unsuitable'

Women are being put off farming because of a perception that the work is unsuitable for them, according to a new Scottish Government report.

The document identified social isolation and a lack of work/life balance as two other barriers preventing them from joining the agriculture sector.

The report stems from work carried out by the Women in Agriculture Taskforce which was set up in 2017, and has been complied by the Scottish Centre for Employment Research at Strathclyde Business School.

It explores the success and impact of various initiatives in other industries seen as male-dominated, such as engineering, and examines effective ways of bringing about greater gender equality within Scottish agricultural businesses of all sizes.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: I welcome the publication of this report. Women have always played a vital role in delivering a successful agriculture sector.

Their role in agricultural businesses of all sizes is increasingly important, especially as farming businesses continue to diversify and meet the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

However, it is clear that there remains a lot of work to be done and this report outlines effective ways of bringing about greater gender equality within Scottish agricultural businesses and organisations with paid employees.

I would encourage agricultural business to draw on the examples in this report and play their role in bringing about gender parity in the workplace.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Agricultural businesses should improve their knowledge and understanding of equalities issues.
  • Industry-based organisations and the Scottish Government should work together to increase awareness, support and networking in agriculture and help agricultural businesses to access expertise and guidance.
  • Individuals should adopt a view that equality is everyones business and engage with their employers in advancing equality outcomes.
  • Businesses should ensure that gender equality is embedded in the formal and informal values of the business, rather than focusing on standalone initiatives.

The report can be accessed at: https://bit.ly/3ScHOkY

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